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Legacy Project: The Dundas Rocking Chair #3: Building the Halves

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Blog entry by Lee Barker posted 11-24-2012 08:06 PM 705 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Pile o' Parts Plus a comparison of the Dundas to the Maloof Part 3 of Legacy Project: The Dundas Rocking Chair series Part 4: Shaping »

In the Maloof construction process one attaches the front legs to the seat and builds from there.

In the Dundas instructions, the sides are assembled: Back leg, front leg, side rail and rocker. (The arm is added after the first part is set up.) The construction narrative image showed this section clamped up and laying on the floor.

This gave me the willies. What if the angles differed? After considerable pondering I ended up clamping the two rockers onto the edge of my work table (a convenient 8 feet long) making sure that the tips were identical in height. Then I dry fit on that. It became clear that I could eyeball the results, compare them, and make adjustments to get them exact. It worked very well. In fact I made a little tourniquet of light string to pull the top of one of the back legs a little bit east to make it identical to the other. The tourniquet went across to a screw on the far edge of the work table.

Back to the Maloof for a minute: I had my greatest difficulty in that build in establishing the placement of the feet on the rockers. It affects tilt and aesthetics and was very hard to mock up.

The Dundas was a cinch. The riser blocks are glued on the rockers at specified intervals. There is fudge room built into their length. Clamp the other parts together and set the front leg centered on the front block and clamp that, and you’ve got your starting place. Scribing the back leg to drop down on its block, flush, was quite simple.

Then, before drilling for dowels and all that, you can rough shape the riser blocks with the rest of the chair off them—bandsaw the curves and then rasp and microplane away. The images below are all pre-glue: I took everything apart and did as much fairing and shaping as I could, and rounded all the edges (with a 1/2” R router bit) that hadn’t been shaped.

Drilling the rocker to receive the front leg:

Next: Glimpses at shaping

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"



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